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Mizoram celebs spread Covid message

Awareness drive to stem spike in cases
Lalthuammawia Ralte

Our Special Correspondent   |   Guwahati   |   Published 20.11.20, 12:46 AM

Mizoram is tapping into the power of its celebrities to ensure the success of the publicity blitzkreig on Covid-appropriate behaviour that it launched on Wednesday to break the chain of transmission of the novel coronavirus.

As many as 72 short messages on Covid-19 behaviour were posted by as many celebrities at 9am on social media platforms as part of the ongoing Jan Andolan campaign, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October.

These are simple messages like requesting people to wash their hands frequently, use masks and sanitiser, adhere to social-distancing norms, government directives and standard operating procedures and calling helplines to prevent the spread of the virus.

For effective dissemination, Mizoram’s information & public relations department recorded the messages in all the languages spoken in the state — Mizo, Lai, Mara, Hmar, Paite, Nepali, Bru and Chakma —apart from English and Hindi.

Mizoram has been strictly enforcing Covid safety rules with the support of community volunteers to break the chain of transmission. 

Social media influencers, singers, artists, sports persons, athletes and footballers have been engaged for the social media campaign.

Leading personalities/celebrities who have been roped in include national woman hockey player Lalremsiami, footballers Lalthuammawia Ralte (Bengaluru FC), Lalrindika Ralte and S. Malsawmtluanga, Miss Mizoram Zirsangpuii, singer Vanlalsailova, Drew Pachuau, one of the most followed Mizo youth on Instagram, and boxers N.T. Lalbiakima and John Kenty.

Till Wednesday evening, Mizoram had 3,481 Covid cases of which 496 are active. There have been five deaths of which the first was reported on October 28, 219 days after the detection of the first positive case on March 24.

Dr Pachuau Lalmalsawma, state nodal officer of integrated disease surveillance programme and health department spokesperson on Covid-19, told The Telegraph that the recent lockdown helped bring down the daily cases from 38 to 29.

“We hope the awareness drive along with the ongoing zero Covid-19 tolerance drive will further bring down the cases,” Lalmalsawma said.

For a long time, the state did not have any Covid deaths or serious cases. 

Most cases were mild or asymptomatic.

“But with winter closing in, five Covid deaths in the last one month and an increase in symptomatic cases, the challenge will increase. Hence the campaign to break the chain of transmission of the virus,” senior information & public relations  official Pratap Chetri said.

The state’s information & public relations department has been at the forefront of the publicity and awareness drives on Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic in the state.

The department’s social media accounts are widely followed, Chetri said.

According to the IPR department, concerted efforts by the government, NGOs and the civil society, including the local/village level task forces, have paid dividends. 

It said the daily updates and bulletins on Covid-19 released by the department are the most shared posts over various WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms.

The Covid situation in neighbouring Manipur and Nagaland is also worrying following a fresh spike in cases. 

Several key offices, including the Nagaland State Civil Secretariat, have been sealed for a couple of days. 

Manipur, too, saw a spike in cases, sparking off concern because most did not have a travel history. Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh had tested positive on Sunday.

The worst-hit is Assam, which has had 2,10,000 positive cases. 

Though the number of active cases has dropped to 3,329, there are fears about a spike given the non-adherence to Covid-19 safety measures during campaigning for December’s Bodoland Territorial Council polls and public functions. Assam has seen 966 deaths till Wednesday morning.

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